It is easy to appreciate public transportation. it is environmentally kinder than driving a car, far less stressful than dealing with street, freeway and highway traffic. Using public transportation has an additional benefit. Bus riders intentionally and unintentionally reveal themselves with their body language and words. It is easy to wonder and imagine where these people live and what their lives might be like. Sometimes riders will share their world with another rider or the bus driver, and paint a little picture of who they are.
Back Of The Bus
If one regularly uses public transportation, it is not usual to recognize fellow riders. This happened to me the other day. After boarding a bus, I intentionally walked all the way to the back t to take a seat at the back so that I could continue reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I was captivated by the main character and couldn’t wait to learn what he might do next!
I opened the book and read less than a page when I looked up, and recognized the disheveled looking man who was boarding the bus. Months earlier we had a conversation outside his home as he swept the leaves off the sidewalk. He looked at me with his light blue eyes that had a sparkle to them. We talked about for a few minutes. I found myself a little distracted by the many cats that were sitting on his porch or in the boxes that cluttered his front yard. I would see him from time to time in front of his house or walking on the sidewalk.
His Name is Will
The man walked toward the back of the bus and sat a few seats to my left. He looked my way showing no recognition. I sat there thinking ” Do I talk or do i sit here?” Then I remembered the words of Arnold Abbott, the 94-year-old Florida man , whom I interviewed, who has been feeding homeless people since 1991 (www.lovethynieghbor.org) when he told me that he didn’t see much difference between the mentally ill in Florida and the tourists! Well, why not talk? I did and he shared the history of his neighborhood and his working experiences and a lot more. We talked for 15 minutes until he stood up to get off the bus. “Nice chatting with you” he said and he waved and smiled as he walked off the bus. His name is Will.